This is in a song I’ve heard. Is it grammatically correct?

  • ...I pray the Lord my soul to keep. It's really just 'poetic doggerel', but strictly speaking it is grammatical, I'm sure. Commented Jul 7, 2011 at 14:41
  • Enter Sandman by any chance?
    – Andrew
    Commented Jul 7, 2011 at 14:49
  • It's originally from a prayer, and has been used in many songs.
    – yoozer8
    Commented Dec 5, 2011 at 18:04
  • I concur on the use of reflexive pronouns anywhere an object is appropriate, but still hold to the implied preposition for indirect objects. Take, for example, "He gave his daughter in marriage" "He gave his daughter a wedding" "I sent him a letter" "I sent him home." "Give us our daily bread" "Give us up for redemption"
    – user46468
    Commented Jun 21, 2013 at 19:32
  • Andrew, yes. It is in the record Enter Sandman by Metallica. Here youtube.com/watch?v=CD-E-LDc384
    – Tristan
    Commented Jun 21, 2013 at 22:20

2 Answers 2


Technically this is grammatically correct, however it is not common for someone to use the first person for both the subject and the direct object of a sentence, as it comes across as somewhat redundant.

"Now I lay down to sleep" has the same meaning and is a more conventional way of saying this. Although I'm sure the choice to use "Now I lay me down to sleep" was done for poetic reasons and there's nothing wrong with that.

  • 5
    Would it not be either "Now I lie down to sleep" or "Now I lay myself down to sleep"?
    – neil
    Commented Jul 7, 2011 at 16:53
  • Ah, you're right. "Lie" is used when no direct object is present "Now I lie down to sleep".
    – Ryan Stull
    Commented Jul 7, 2011 at 16:58
  • 2
    I don't think it's as uncommon as you seem to suggest in informal speech. E.g. "I gotta catch me some sleep." Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 18:04

Nice use of the middle voice. Since the subject is acting upon itself, i.e., it is both subject and object, so use of the transitive verb "lay." Without the object (me) it would have to be "Now I lie down to sleep" (the verb would have to be the intransitive "lie" not the transitive "lay.") Use of "myself" here would be inappropriate as "myself" would take a preposition (usually implied), e.g., I bought a bike [for] myself; I finished the job [by] myself, I gave [to] myself a birthday gift. (Except, "myself" can be used emphatically, "I myself won the prize.") So "I lay myself" does not really work.

  • 3
    –1: There is no implied preposition in “I gave myself a birthday gift” – it's simply an indirect object. You can use reflexive pronouns anywhere an object is appropriate: direct, indirect, or preposition. Half of this answer is incorrect. Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 19:09

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.